Why We Fear What Others Think About Us

Why We Care What Others Think About Us


The reason for caring what others think about us might be directly tied to evolution.

What would be the ultimate catastrophe for a person 10,000 years ago? Maybe losing eyesight or a limb- that would be pretty bad. But I believe the ultimate worst thing would be being booted from your tribe. You would be left for dead to find your own food, build your own shelter, light your own fire and all the other ridiculously hard things that primitive man had to endure.

And don't even think about reproducing. You kidding me? When you have to go out and search for water 13 hours a day? Being alone and primitive truly sucks.

And this is where fear from what others think about us sets in. It is a defense mechanism against the ultimate catastrophe. It might even be a stronger fear than facing a menacing lion or fear of losing a loved one. So, you would do anything to stay in the tribe, including using fear as a propeller to change the way people think about you. 

So that brings us to today. We are not cavemen anymore, but our biological triggers have not changed. We just project our feelings and fears in different ways. There are people out there today that would rather risk a high speed car crash than to leave the house without their toupee or Chanel bag. It's because fearing what others think may be the strongest emotion we have, one that may trump all other indicators of threat.

We react to things out of this subconscious fear that we don't even know exists. It's scary to speak in front of people yes, but we need not to fear that we will be booted from the tribe and left for dead. We may be fired for sure. And that may feel like death. But the real risk in being booted from the tribe and left for dead no longer exists.

Recognize this and try to use it as leverage. We should be fearless in our approach to what others think about us, because anxiety over their thoughts about us is simply a defense mechanism that has ultimately lost its usefulness.